There’s a part of me, deep down inside me, that worries I’ll eventually run out of words. Not in a “be unable to write or talk because I can no longer use words” sort of way, because even I do not have enough senseless anxiety to worry about that. This part of me is specifically afraid of running out of Things to Say. It worries that I’ll eventually say everything I have to say of any consequence and I’ll no longer be able to convince myself that I should be writing.
I don’t remember who it was, which irks me greatly, but I saw someone on Twitter post that to be a writer, you need a bit of an overly large ego. The whole idea of being a writer is predicated on believing that you have something to say that people want to hear. You can’t really write a story or a newspaper column or even a tweet without believe that what you are writing is something that someone wants to read. Sure, a lot of tweets are pretty dang meaningless and don’t have much thought put into them, but there’s also a lot of rather casual arrogance out there about writing.
Just like when you talk to a friend, writing a message includes the implicit belief that they care about what you have to say. Tweeting includes believing that the people who follow you care about what you have to say and that random strangers could potentially care about it. Writing a blog says that I think you, whoever you are, care about what I have to say. Writing a book says that I think a bunch of strangers will care about my thoughts or stories. No matter what I do, I have to believe that what I have to say is something that someone wants to hear.
I know it might just be a result of my OCD and the particular ways my brain words, but that thought feels like a vortex it’d be really easy to get stuck in. I struggle regularly with the belief that I don’t have anything worth saying. I don’t really posses an ego large enough to simply brush past that doubt, so I often wind up trying–and failing–to justifying writing something. And it isn’t just blog posts. It is everything from text messages to Facebook or Twitter replies. I can’t tell you the number of messages/comments/replies that I’ve typed up and then deleted instead of sending. For today alone, my best guess would be at least two dozen.
Some people say that anyone can be a writer and that is definitely true. What people often fail to take into account is that, like any other trade or art, it takes a lot of work to actually be decent at it. People go whole careers without ever being good at it and even fewer ever wind up being considered great. Writing gets treated as an after thought in a lot of work places and by a lot of people, but our increasingly electronic world depends more and more on writing. Thanks to the internet, the main way we interact with people is through writing. Video chat may entirely replace text-based communication on the internet eventually, but I think it’ll be a while before then since video still uses a lot of cellular data and that can still be very expensive for a lot of people (myself included).
Yet here I am, struggling to keep up with my daily blog posts because I feel like I don’t have anything worth saying. I find myself circling back to previously picked-apart topics and thinking I don’t have anything worth adding. I can’t find any thought or idea worth writing a poem about. I can’t think of any story worth telling here. That nothing I have to say is worth posting about.
It took me a while to realize that in order to consider whether or not something is worth saying, I actually need to have something to say. There’s little reason to shout down something as worthless if there’s nothing actually there and one thing I know for a fact about myself is that I’m not going to shut myself down over nothing. There’s always something at the core, even if I can’t seem to find it. Every thought spiral, every depressive episode, every single needling anxiety. There’s always something there, beneath the emotional/mental turmoil.
While it felt like a huge epiphany at the time, I’ve got to say that it really hasn’t changed much. I still wonder if everything is worth posting or writing or even considering long enough to see if I have enough there to write about. Hell, I wrote most of this out and then nearly trashed it since I don’t have much of a conclusion or anything thought-provoking to say. Mostly, I just wanted to say this so maybe someone else thinking the same thing would know they’re not the only one wondering if their words are worth it.
I’m pretty sure they are. Probably. You never know until you try?